Music Review : Deafheaven – Sunbather (2013, Deathwish Inc.)
American Black Metal has gained respect since a few years and with the exception of Absu from Texas, few BM acts have been recognized as worth the genre. In the recent years, Nachtmystium has been respected with their revisits of Pink Floyd’s Meddle atmosphere and textures with Assassins : Black Meddle, Part I. Put aside the crap from Blake Judd. There’s also Wolves in the Throne Room that are one of the most interesting BM acts from the US.
Lately, with easier ways to record, a bunch of talented and untalented musicians have formed Black Metal bands and the quantity of BM releases has increased considerably. Amongst this genre many imitators of Darkthrone, Immortal, Satyricon were appearing but few have taken elements of the genre to elevate them in a more personal approach to music and adapt it.
Deafheaven is a brighter star in the sky when it comes to the creativity of their music. They elevated their sound close to the elegance of the early BM releases of Ulver (Nattens Madrigal for example). Not afraid to indulge more than wrath and angered occult and satanist lyrics. This era of BM is dead and now laughable. The most enduring acts of the genre have let Satanism and treat about humanity, nihilism, mythology, littérature, philosophy, and the darker side of the human mind. With Deafheaven themes are closer to a North American mindset and are introspective, melancholic, and less conventional BM.
Structured with four songs and three interludes, Sunbather is a beautiful yet dark journey into modern BM with elements of shoegazing and psychedelic rock. Unlike many American Black Metal bands Deafheaven is no carbon copy of its influence. Many people can make a BM record but few can master this music and actually make something refreshing and this appealing.
After a few listens it is easy to state that even if I missed this release in 2013, I would definitely put it on my best of the year 2013 list.